A survey sponsored by the Montezuma County Health Department will continue through Nov. 30, director Bobbi Lock said.
The survey, which is available online and in paper form at county and city government offices, asks respondents to choose the most important health-related issues in their lives from a wide variety of options. Health Department personnel originally said that it would run from Nov. 1-Nov. 15, but Lock said the department will continue to accept responses through the end of the month to make sure the survey reaches more people. The department plans to use the survey results to help draft its next “community health improvement plan.”
The department is required by state law to create such a plan every five years. Each one is designed to provide possible solutions to what is considered the most urgent health problem. Lock said she believes it’s important to give county residents a say in deciding what that problem might be.
“We all have our own ideas of what we think is the priority, but I think the community’s voice might be different,” she said.
The online survey, which covers mental and physical health, asks users to “select/rate the top three issues in order of importance in your life” from a list that includes problems such as diabetes, child abuse and water quality. It then asks respondents to identify groups of people – based on age, racial and economic status – that would most benefit most from services related to these issues. An optional page of the survey asks respondents to identify their personal information like race, gender and location, which Lock said is intended to help Health Department personnel be sure they’re reaching all demographics.
In 2012, the county conducted a similar survey before drafting its latest five-year improvement plan, but Lock said it wasn’t available to as many people as she hopes to reach this year. That survey identified obesity as the biggest health issue in the county. The Health Department responded by bolstering its existing nutrition and healthful eating programs, helping with similar programs produced by local organizations such as the Piñon Project and getting rid of soda in its own office vending machines.
Lock said the county had received about 600 responses to the survey by Nov. 16. She said she expected to be able to release the results to the public in early December.
Paper surveys can be picked up and turned in at several locations throughout the county, including the Cortez City Hall and Montezuma County Health Department.